New Apprenticeship Guidelines Now Available

Paul Cooper and J.D. Smith, MCC apprenticeship grantees, 2007. Photo by Billy Howard. Sister Faith Riccio (seated) and Ksenia Pokrovsky, MCC Apprenticeship grantees, 2003. Photo by Billy Howard.

Have you mastered a traditional art? Do you want to ensure it is passed on by teaching the next generation? Or do you want to increase your skills, technique, and artistry by studying with a master traditional artist? If so, take a look at our Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. New guidelines and application forms have just been posted.

Suhas Rao and Tara Anand Bangalore, MCC apprenticeship grantees, 2007. Photo by Billy Howard.

Romancing the Item: The Auctioneer’s chant

Roy Burdick started auctioneering over 30 years ago and has been bid chanting ever since. Listen to him reveal some of the auctioneer’s tricks of the trade (4 MB). Here he is in action at “Old Home Days” in Rowe, Massachusetts.

Roy Burdick, auctioneer. Photo by Maggie Holtzberg.

Roy Burdick will be one of the performing artists at our upcoming concert, Keepers of Tradition: In Performance, at the National Heritage Museum, Saturday October 4th.

Cross-state Apprenticeships in the Traditional Arts

Boston based Bashkim Braho and Waterbury, Connecticut Albanian Dancers. Photo by Lynne Williamson.

You may know of a traditional craftsman, musician, or dancer with which you’d like to apprentice. If you live in Massachusetts, you can apply for an MCC Traditional Arts Apprenticeship grant. But what if the master artist lives in the neighboring states of Connecticut or Rhode Island? You are in luck. The Connecticut Cultural Heritage Arts Program offers a unique program that supports the learning of traditional (folk) artistic skills called the Southern New England Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. The beauty of this program is that it’s specifically designed to foster learning across state lines. For example, an apprentice in Rhode island, can study with a master artist living in Massachusetts, and vice versa. The deadline is fast approaching so check out their guidelines by contacting Lynne Williamson, director of the Southern New England Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program.

Project grant opportunity for musicians

Folk musicians — how often have you wondered how to get a little help with producing a recording, marketing yourself, or repairing a musical instrument? Our friends at Club Passim have just announced project grants for musicians called the Iguana Fund. It looks like a nifty opportunity for artistic and or professional growth. Applications are accepted through mid-November. Check it out!

Handmade signs in Halifax

He served in Desert Storm. His dad played for the Red Sox. And he keeps bees — but we’re interested in him because he has mastered the art of hand made signmaking. A day’s work for Nicholas Lonborg entails carving letters in wood and applying gold leaf. He specializes in highly finished quarterboards, like the one he is working on here. Once associated with ships, quarterboards now mark personal property, especially on the seafaring island of Nantucket and other coastal communities.

Nicholas Lonborg outlining in black. Photo by Maggie Holtzberg

Visitors to “Keepers” weigh in

Vistors viewing santos. Photo by Maggie Holtzberg

Visitors to the exhibition Keepers of Tradition: Art and Folk Heritage in Massachusetts at the National Heritage Museum in Lexington have been sharing their responses to the show by filling out printed comment cards. Here are a few of their thoughts:

Card: Has this exhibition changed your idea of what folk art is? If so, How?

Response: “This exhibit made it so worth the trip to the museum on a rainy day. We come here often. Today, I was again uplifted spiritually and artistically. Thanks to all contributors for sharing – this is the way life should be – appreciating our differences and similarities.” (Age 47)

Response: “Yes, I didn’t know folk art could be expressed in so many ways and the way these people do it is so amazing. (Age 11)

Response: “It encourages me to think carefully about what I have learned from my own families and how have I, or can I, pass that along to my own 11-year old son. Wow. Fabulous! Thank you.” (Age 50)

Response: “I found “Useful Things Made Beautiful” especially intriguing. Many of the items in this portion of the exhibit are very familiar to me – I know the background/origins of this “art” and the time, talent, and passion behind creating. It is wonderful that these “crafts” are displayed and very appreciated by others.” (Age 51)

Card: Tell us about a tradition that is part of your family or community.
Response: “I am a former dean at MassArt and have probably been to 300 + exhibitions. I have never seen, heard and been wonderfully uplifted so much as by my visit here today.
P.S. Spectacular. Makes the MFA pale by comparison.” (Age 79)

Card: Tell us more about folk arts in Massachusetts
Response: “I would like you to investigate traditional Greek dance at the Greek Church in Watertown, MA.” (Age 12)

Card: Please tell us about yourself
Response: “My union made the three tin men. They did a wonderful job putting them together. I am very pleased that they are in your museum.” (Age 80)

Response: Walking into “Sacred Expressions” it brought tears to my eyes to see all those religions brought together in one space through the arts. (Age 60)

Card: Draw or describe your favorite object in the exhibition
Response: My favorite object was the fruit cocktail costume. It is very colorful and shiny. I never knew that anyone had costumes like that. (Age 13)

Have a comment? Send me an email: maggie.holtzberg@state.ma.us